Imperious Nzoia United are the 2016 NSL champions
Nzoia United have won the National Super League (NSL) to cap a remarkable season in which they have simply been unrivaled. Nzoia were confirmed champions with four rounds left to play after edging hosts St. Josephs FC 1-0 at the Nairobi’s Afraha Stadium on Sunday to hit an unassailable 85 point mark.
Nzoia confirmed their Kenyan Premier League (KPL) status after downing Kisumu’s Palos FC 2-1 in their previous match but with Kariobangi Sharks at the time mathematically still in the title race, the celebrations were postponed for at least one more round.
Patrick Kwitonda scored the lone goal in the first half to steer the Bernard Mwalala coached outfit to glory and now march into top flight as worthy champions, losing a single match in 34 and averaging an astonishing 1.85 goals per game thus far.
Nzoia have occupied first place virtually all season and hardly ever has their hegemony come under any real threat. By August Nakumatt FC and Zoo Kericho FC – who at the time were only two points adrift the leaders – were the only other realistic challengers but while Nzoia’s majestic run seemed never-ending, Nakumatt swiftly imploded while Zoo could hardly cope.
Amid sweeping wins against their NSL counterparts, the true test to the magnitude of Nzoia’s might came in the GOtv Shield Cup and while they finally fell to eventual first runners-up Ulinzi Stars, a stunning statement win over 15-time KPL champions Gor Mahia FC had been enough test.
And since then, the NSL race felt nothing more than a formality. Nzoia win the 2016 title holding a 14-point lead over second-placed Sharks but along their road to glory, that gap has been wider. Stretching up to 16 points above the chasing pack and denying them even the faintest of hopes of a comeback.
-KPL promotion tussle-
Below them, the KPL promotion tussle continues to intensify, with Vihiga United, Zoo, Nakumatt and Sharks – all of whom complete the top five list – winning their corresponding fixtures to march on as a compact unit of four each praying for a slip from the other.
At Oserian, Matthew Odongo scored the lone goal in the 68th minute as Sharks beat Oserian FC to preserve their two-point lead over Zoo who bounced back from a 2-1 upset at Nakumatt last weekend to register a resounding 4-0 win over Nakuru All Stars.
Vihiga were 4-0 winners over Palos FC with goals from Christopher Masinza, Amos Kigadi and a brace from Michael Misigo lifting them to 63 points, five away from fourth-placed Nakumatt who saw off Agrochemicals 2-0 courtesy first goals from Bernard Meki and John Mwangi.
Also vying for promotion is a resurgent KCB side who are tied on 63 points with Vihiga but with a game in hand.
At the Kericho Green Stadium, striker Nicholas Kipkirui grabbed a brace as NSL top scorer Mike Madoya scored his second goal in as many matches with Bernard Wanguche completing the rout.
“The boys have made us proud by showing determination to overcome their upset against Nakumatt and win here today. We are optimistic we will be playing in KPL next year because they are in good form and hungry for wins,” Zoo Team Manager Ibrahim Muganda told Citizen Digital.
Elsewhere, at the Camp Toyoyo, Nairobi Stima condemned Ligi Ndogo deeper into the jaws of relegation with a 2-0 win. Striker Patrick Mugendi struck a splendid opener in the 26th minute before Eugene Okoth added the second 11 minutes later to push Stima into ninth, two points above Agrochemicals on 47 points.
Striker Patrick Mugendi struck a splendid opener in the 26th minute before Eugene Okoth added the second 11 minutes later to push Stima into ninth, two points above Agrochemicals on 47 points.
“We tried to rectify our past mistakes and executed our game plan perfectly. Our defence has been a little bit weak this season but having seen the performance today I believe we will finish our season on a high,” Stima Head Coach Ibrahim Shikanda said after the match.
His opposite counterpart, George Maina insisted Ligi Ndogo can still overturn their fortunes and escape relegation while ruing the inexperience in his squad for their poor season.In other round 34 results, MOSCA FC won 3-0 away to FC Talanta while hosts Police FC were held to a 1-1 draw by Wazito FC.
In other round 34 results, MOSCA FC won 3-0 away to FC Talanta while hosts Police FC were held to a 1-1 draw by Wazito FC.
In the last match of the round, KCB travel to bottom-placed Shabana FC on Monday hoping to boost their promotion hopes against a side that has lost 26 in their 33 matches this season.
-Additional reporting by Ali Endere and Bernard Rotich.
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